Media Releases

Animal, Environmental Groups File Notice of Objection to Health Canada Decision to Allow Cruel Poison Used to Kill Wolves & Other Wildlife 

OTTAWA—Wolf Awareness, WeHowl, Animal Justice, Humane Society International/Canada, and Animal Alliance of Canada, along with a coalition of 17 animal and environmental protection groups, have filed a notice of objection under the Pest Control Products Act with Canada’s Minister of Health, asking that he reverse course on a decision to continue registering the “super poison” Compound 1080. 

Compound 1080 (or sodium monofluoroacetate) is a poison used to kill wolves and coyotes in Alberta – the only Canadian province where this cruel and indiscriminate poison continues to be used. It causes extreme suffering to wolves and coyotes, as well as non-target animals who consume poison baits, causing them to experience vomiting, anxiety, frenzied behaviour, tetanic seizures, and eventual death from cardiac failure or respiratory arrest caused by cell death and a lack of oxygen to the brain. Poisoned animals, including companion dogs, can suffer for hours before dying.  

Despite the known suffering and harm to non-target animals, including endangered species, that is caused by Compound 1080, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (“PMRA”) has decided to continue registering it for use, subject to new “risk mitigation” measures that the groups say fall far short of what is needed to protect Canadian wildlife and companion animals.

Following years of advocacy by animal and environmental protection groups, the Agency decided in March to cancel all uses of the notorious poison strychnine, previously authorized to kill wolves, coyotes, black bears and skunks in Alberta. Compound 1080 is now the last remaining predacide registered for use in Canada.

“The PMRA made an evidence-based decision in banning the use of strychnine across Canada,” said Hannah Barron, conservation director at Wolf Awareness. “There is no good reason to keep allowing wildlife poisoning with Compound 1080. The Agency has simply turned a blind eye to both the risks and rampant non-compliance that characterizes Alberta’s use of this poison.”

“This decision is a death sentence for wild animals across Alberta,” said Kaitlyn Mitchell, lawyer and director of legal advocacy with Animal Justice. “It is irresponsible to place an indiscriminate and horrific poison like Compound 1080 in fragile ecosystems, knowing that badgers, raptors, foxes, and other animals will also consume these baits. Because it can take hours for them to die, they will suffer out of sight, their bodies scattered throughout vast expanses of wilderness.”

In February of 2021, the PMRA announced that it would not consider animal suffering during its re-evaluation of predacides like Compound 1080. Despite a lack of adequate records, the Agency concluded that when it comes to “population level effects”, the poison’s environmental risks are “acceptable.”

“Animal welfare should be grounds enough for banning this cruel toxin” said Sadie Parr, organizer of WeHowl. “But setting aside the issue of animal suffering, the fact remains that for rare and at-risk species, the loss of a single individual may be significant enough to have an adverse impact on the population of that species. Birds and mammals are especially susceptible.”

Use records show that, as with strychnine, Compound 1080 baits placed in the Alberta environment frequently go missing, with poison consumed and no bodies recovered. With mandatory checking of bait sites only every seven days, it is virtually impossible to know how many or which kinds of animals are killed, and whether their bodies are then poisoning other animals throughout the ecosystem.

Poisoning wolves and coyotes with Compound 1080 is an ineffective and archaic way to prevent conflict between farmed animals and predators. With strychnine no longer being used to kill wolves, coyotes, and black bears in areas with at-risk caribou ranges, it is likely that even more Compound 1080 will now be used in Alberta for this purpose as well.

According to a national Environics poll commissioned by Wolf Awareness, Animal Alliance, and Animal Justice, 69% of Canadians say that the risks posed by Compound 1080 used in Canadian wildlife management programs are unacceptable.

A copy of the Notice of Objection can be found here.


Hannah Barron
Conservation Director, Wolf Awareness
[email protected]

Sadie Parr
WeHowl, organizer
[email protected]

Kaitlyn Mitchell
Director of Legal Advocacy
[email protected]